Nurturing human capital
The job of the treasurer is never just about numbers. It’s a multi-faceted role that, today more than ever, demands an increasing level of emotional intelligence. Not only must treasurers use their persuasive abilities to help secure budget for technology investment, but they are expected to interface with the C-suite on a regular basis and embrace the culture of the corporation in which they operate, whilst also selecting and retaining the best possible treasury team.
In the Asia Pacific (APAC) region, the war for treasury talent has always been fierce. But as some of the biggest APAC economies cool off – China being front of mind – and salaries in the region continue to rise, companies of all sizes are being put under increasing pressure to deliver strong revenue growth and profitability. With high staff turnover a well-recognised feature of the APAC recruitment market, and recent statistics indicating that the financial cost of replacing a key employee can be as much as twice their annual salary, it’s little surprise that many companies in the region are therefore taking the time to redevelop their talent strategies.
More than attracting new talent, corporates are looking to identify innovative yet sustainable ways to both reward and retain skilled employees. Nowhere is this kind of initiative more important than the treasury department. Professionally qualified personnel are hard to come by – and a good team really can be a treasurer’s best tool.
One interesting trend in this respect is the creation of training institutes or ‘talent academies’ by corporates and banks across the APAC region. Samsung Electronics and Unilever are two very recognisable names that have invested heavily in such initiatives. And in March 2014, BNP Paribas actually opened a talent hub on a large ‘Campus’ in Singapore. According to the bank, the centre “is a place for sharing, reflection and collective learning, fostering the growth and development of all group employees.”
Naturally not every company will have this level of resources to invest in talent, but this certainly highlights the value that companies are placing on their human capital today. So, the next time you revisit your treasury function’s KPIs, spare a thought for the contribution that people make to overall performance.